Repeal will end protection of unborn and usher in one of most extreme abortion regimes in world: LoveBoth

Ireland needs to have an honest discussion about the "barbaric" reality of abortion ahead of next month's referendum, anti-abortion campaigners have said.

Activists from LoveBoth urged people to vote against changing the country's strict abortion laws as the group launched their campaign for a No vote.

Citizens will be asked on May 25th whether they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment of Ireland's Constitution, a provision that makes abortion illegal in all but exceptional circumstances.

Speaking at the launch, Love Both legal consultant Caroline Simons said: “If the Eighth Amendment is repealed, Ireland will go from being a country that protects unborn babies to one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world.

“The Government’s referendum proposal is even more frightening than England’s abortion law, where one in every five babies loses his or her life to abortion.

“If repeal happens, the Government is committed to legislating for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.

“The proposed legislation also allows for abortion on vague and undefined ‘health’ grounds, up to viability and even up to birth where the baby has a possible terminal illness and in other circumstances as well.

“Voters who support abortion in so-called limited circumstances need to know that what they hope for with repeal and what they’d get are two entirely different things. A vote for repeal is a vote for abortion on demand.

“It didn’t have to be this way. The Government could have chosen to amend the Eighth Amendment for so-called hard cases, while leaving some form of protection for unborn babies in the Constitution.

“But instead they opted for a proposal that takes away all meaningful protections from unborn babies and allows abortion on demand.

The only way to stop this from happening is to ‘VOTE NO’ on 25th May.

LoveBoth spokeswoman Cora Sherlock said the debate in Ireland has become so "sanitised" that it is regarded by some as "extreme" to describe what is being proposed "even in the mildest way".

Addressing a crowd of about 60 people in Dublin, she added: "But voters are entitled to know what a vote to repeal would mean.

"It's certainly not restrictive abortion that they would be voting for.

"A vote for repeal is a vote for one of the deadliest abortion laws ever proposed.

"It's a proposal that obliterates the right to life of unborn babies and makes little attempt to hide that fact."

Ms Sherlock went on to describe the stages of an abortion procedure, which she said was according to a doctor's testimony.

"The Government's proposal opens the door to these barbaric procedures," she said.

Asked about accusations that the anti-abortion movement uses language intended to shock, Ms Sherlock said: "What I would say is that the idea that we are even thinking about introducing abortion on demand and those type of procedures into our country is shocking.

"And I think it would be foolhardy to think that a mature society like Ireland could have the debate that we are having, and have a vote on abortion on demand, in just a few weeks' time, without actually looking at what abortion involves."

"Abortion is shocking. It ends the life of a baby.

"The proposal at the moment is to introduce abortion on demand for the first three months of pregnancy at a stage when a baby has a face, a baby has a beating heart, a baby is sucking his or her thumb, and moving in the womb."

She added: "That procedure that I described was the procedure described by an abortionist brought in and invited by the Government to the Oireachtas committee just a few months ago just before Christmas.

"So it's reality. I know the reality of abortion is shocking.

"I absolutely agree with that, but I think if we're going to be honest about what is meant here we're going to have to address that and actually discuss it so that people can make an informed decision on the 25th."

Ms Sherlock also expressed concerns about what a vote for repeal will mean for GPs.

"If the Eighth Amendment is removed from the constitution on May 25, the Government will initiate a nationwide, GP-led abortion service, providing for unrestricted abortion on request in the first three months of pregnancy," she said.

"That means that doctors who are trained to protect life will suddenly be expected to facilitate the taking of life."

Ms Sherlock added: "If repeal happens, it will transform local GP practices in devastating ways.

"As a group, GPs will be expected to routinely harm their pre-born patients in the false name of choice.

"And not just harm them, but actually kill them."

Ms Sherlock said more and more people are starting to realise "what is at stake" in this referendum.

"And that's certainly been my experience from talking to people over the last number of months.

"Ireland would be a very different place if we removed the Eighth Amendment and it would not be for the better," she said.

Among those gathered at the campaign launch were TDs Michael Healy-Rae and Mattie McGrath.

Legal consultant Caroline Simons (left) with TD's Mattie McGrath and Michael Healy Rae (right) and campaigner Brigit Hirsch at the launch of the LoveBoth "Vote No" campaign. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Mr Healy-Rae said he believed the referendum would be close.

"I sense that it is going to be tight. It might be tighter than people think," he said.

The total electorate currently stands at around 3.2 million and eligible voters have been encouraged to ensure they are registered.

Voters will be asked whether they want to replace the Eighth Amendment, which gives the mother and unborn an equal right to life, with wording that hands responsibility for setting the country's abortion laws to politicians.

If the public votes to repeal the constitutional provision, the Irish Government intends to table legislation that would permit women to abort within 12 weeks of pregnancy.

- Press Association

More on this topic

#RepealThe8th tops trending topics on Twitter in 2018

Abortion: Wait rather than risk a tragedy

Health committee rejects abortion legislation amendments by pro-life TDs

Health Committee to continue debate on abortion legislation

More in this Section

I wouldn't 'like to be associated with the kind of actions he has been involved in' - Varadkar hits out at McGregor

Two men due in court after Sligo robbery

Eoghan Murphy wants to remain as Housing Minister 'as long as' possible

Bride-to-be who went missing on hen night buried in wedding dress


Wish List: Eight great Irish buys for your home

Seven beauty tricks to update your look for spring

The lost world: Why breathtaking Malta should be your next holiday stop

Ring leader: Why boxing is good for the body and mind

More From The Irish Examiner